Walker loses job as mayor of Palisade
Palisade voters booted Mayor Dave Walker out of office Tuesday, a victory for residents who accused Walker of using his position to intimidate others.
Residents voted 425 to 391 (50 percent to 46 percent) to oust Walker, according to election results as of 11 p.m. Semi-retired resident Roger Granat will take Walker’s place after receiving 203 votes in a four-way race to succeed the mayor. Granat received the most votes among Patty Hanna (150), Johnny Nichols (136) and Joseph Browne (96).
Granat will be sworn in during the Palisade Town Board meeting Nov. 9.
Joyce Eielson, a member of the committee that formed to recall Walker, was ecstatic to learn Walker was removed from office.
“I’m just thrilled that the town has spoken, that they don’t accept behavior that’s immoral and unethical and lies,” she said.
Walker didn’t return calls seeking comment Tuesday night.
The decision brings to an end an issue that divided the town and cast Walker alternately as a strong leader who had helped bring new businesses to Palisade and a hothead who harassed residents and businesses.
The recall effort stemmed at least in part from a February confrontation at The Livery Saloon involving Walker, recall committee member Wayne Reid and others. Some claim the dispute ended with Walker threatening to close the bar. At a subsequent Town Board meeting, Walker called Reid a “brain-damaged candidate” who was part of a group of “low-life Livery drunks.”
The battle ultimately expanded to the town’s weekly newspaper, the Palisade Tribune, whose publisher claimed Walker threatened to push advertisers to boycott the newspaper because he was unhappy with the paper’s coverage.
Walker denied all allegations of intimidation and threats and countered that recall supporters were trying to divide the town. A committee in opposition to the recall formed, noting that under Walker’s leadership, the town boosted its sales-tax revenue and launched or completed a number of major capital-construction projects.
Walker leaves with a year and a half left on his current term, which will be fulfilled by Granat. Walker was elected to the Town Board in 2004, appointed mayor in 2007 and elected mayor in 2008.